When I worked at Websense (now Forcepoint) they were best known for their URL Content Filter (Proxy). A URL Content Filter or Proxy Filter prevents a user from visiting certain URL’s or websites that are deemed to be inappropriate while on the Company/School network.
There are multiple benefits a Business, Organization, or School can get out of using a URL Content Filter which include and not limited to:
- Network Security: block known malicious websites – phishing attempts, SPAM,
- Promote Productivity: limit distractions and prevent URL’s/websites that aren’t business/school related
- Network Bandwidth: limit access to media/streaming sites that tend to hog bandwidth
- Prevent Inappropriate Content: we can all agree there are certain websites that users shouldn’t be accessing from work/school
Meraki has a URL Content Filter included in their MX Security Appliances (at NO additional cost). It is quite friendly and easy to use, I will show you how simple it could be to protect your network with the Meraki URL Content Filter.
After logging into your Meraki Dashboard, you will need navigate to SECURITY & SD-WAN section and select CONTENT FILTERING
You are then presented with the following CONTENT FILTERING page
Click on the BLOCKED WEBSITE CATEGORIES section and select those that you want to block. You can select multiple categories by continuing to hold down the [CTRL] key on your keyboard while selecting multiple categories.
After you have selected all the categories you would like to block, click SAVE at the bottom of the screen. It has a notice “Please give 1-2 minutes for changes to take effect.”
If you have a specific URL you want to block, but are unsure of the category you can use the “Category Lookup Tool.” Here you can see that http://www.espn.com/ is categorized as Sports
Now the SPORTS category has been blocked, let’s take a look at what happens when I try to access http://www.espn.com, we should get a blocked/denied message to confirm the URL Content Filtering is working properly and indeed we do.
If there are sites that you want to ENSURE are always accessible, for example internal company websites, affiliate websites, etc. you can add these to the WHITELISTED URL PATTERNS section, and the same goes for any site that you want to ENSURE are always BLOCKED which you can include in the BLOCKED URL PATTERNS section.